Three days around Torridon

Monday 26 September 2011:

Fionn Bheinn (11.3 km, 804 m Ascent)

Tuesday 27 September 2011:

Lower Diabaig – Craig – Lower Diabaig (10.6 km, 391 m Ascent)

Wednesday 28 September 2011:

Liathach (7.89 km, 1332 m Ascent)

Day 1, Monday 26 September 2011

Fionn Bheinn

11.3 km/804 m/04:00 hrs

Munro: Fionn Bheinn (No. 197)

On my way to Torridon to meet some friends from Germany, I stopped in Achnasheen to climb Fionn Bheinn, one of those “boring” Munros that I had avoided until now. Strong winds were forecast, with rain on and off, so I thought this would be a good day for an easy hill. I parked near the train station, crossed the A 832 and started climbing up the hillside behind the farm.

Achnasheen.

I ascended on the east side of the Allt Achadh na Sìne, a stream in a narrow gorge with several waterfalls.

The path peters out on the bealach between Meall a’ Chaorainn and Fionn Bheinn, and I made the mistake to walk straight on instead of keeping to the right. As a result, I ended up in the middle of a vast area of bogholes and soggy peat hags, and it took me a while to find my way out of it.

Eventually, I reached the grassy slopes of Fionn Bheinn.

An Teallach (zoomed).

The ground became a lot easier towards the ridge.

From the ridge, I got a view to the Fannichs in the north.

Loch Fannich.

The summit trig point.

Looking down into Srath Chrombaill, An Teallach in the distance.

Lochan Fada and the Fisherfield Munros.

From the summit, I walked along the east ridge, aiming for the dry stone wall further down.

The Fannichs again.

Rainbow above the dry stone wall.

The Corbett tops Sgurr a’ Choire-rainich and Sgurr a’ Ghlas Leathaid, seen across Strath Bran.

A good path branches off to the south, towards the plantation near the main road.

After emerging from the forest, it is just a few metres down to the road and a ten minute walk back to Achnasheen.

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Day 2, Tuesday 27 September 2011

Lower Diabaig – Craig – Lower Diabaig

10.6 km/391 m/03:00 hrs

Today’s weather was quite horrible with almost constant rain and wind, but it was very mild. My fellow hillwalkers would not arrive in Torridon until later in the day, so I had to kill some time on my own, but any hills were out of the question.

I had always been curious about the former SYHA Hostel at Craig, which is now an open bothy maintained by the MBA, and I decided to go and have a look at it.

After leaving the car park at the pier in Lower Diabaig, I noticed this interesting old ship wreck on the rocky beach.

A few metres past the last house in Diabaig, the footpath to Craig is signposted.

Looking back to Loch Diabaig.

Apart from the fact that it was a bit wet, there is a good footpath all the way across the moorland.

Past Craig, the path leads further along the coastline to the beach at Redpoint (just visible in the photo).

After 1.5 hours I arrived at the bothy.

Craig Bothy.

The bothy was a welcome shelter from the rain, and I had a long tea break inside as well as a good look around the different rooms.

Information board – there was even a note saying that there is a Vodafone signal “on top of the rocky knoll in front of the house”, I didn’t try it out, though!

Shelf with kitchen utensils.

Upstairs, there are several rooms with beds and mattresses.

A rather creative map of the “Costa del Craig”…

The glen of the Craig River behind the bothy.

On the way back, the path leading through a little gorge.

Back in Diabaig, the weather still miserable…

Later that evening, Dunja and Hannes arrived at the Torridon YH. They were both on holiday in the Highlands, and we had arranged to meet on a date that was suitable for the three of us, because we wanted to climb Liathach together – via the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles. But after checking the weather forecast (dry with good visibility, but upland gales), we came to the conclusion that climbing Liathach in these conditions wasn’t a good idea, and we settled for Beinn Damh. At least that one has a “slightly” broader ridge of which we wouldn’t get blown off so easily!

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Day 3, Wednesday 28 September 2011

Liathach

7.89 km/1332 m/09:00 hrs

After breakfast, we were almost ready to go, I spoke to Mat, the hostel manager, about our plans for the day. I mentioned how we all had been looking forward to do Liathach (especially Dunja!), but that we had changed our plans because of the weather. At the moment it looked really nice, and it wasn’t windy at all. When Mat confirmed my opinion that MWIS exaggerate a lot of the time, especially regarding wind speeds, and that he reckoned the wind wouldn’t be nearly as bad as what the forecast said (and he himself would have a go, if he was in our position) – I was convinced. After all, we could always turn back if it became too bad.

As we were in the lucky position to have three cars between us, we could leave one at the end of the route and use another one to drive to the start point. From the car park, it was straight up the steep hillside.

The path follows the Allt an Doire Ghairbh with its impressive waterfalls.

When the way is blocked by rock walls in Coire Liath Mhòr, the path turns east.

After some easy scrambling sections, we soon arrived on the ridge and got the first view of the hills north of Liathach, the eastern top of Beinn Dearg in the middle, with Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eòin behind.

On the way up, it had been quite warm in the sun and the wind had not been too bad. But, as we had expected, it was very different as soon as we were on the ridge. Sometimes there was hardly any wind, then all of a sudden we were hit by strong gusts.

We discussed if we should go on or turn back, because it seemed highly unlikely that we would be able to do the Pinnacles in these conditions, but we agreed to continue to the first Munro and then decide what to do.

Spidean a’ Choire Lèith, the first of Liathach’s two Munros, on the far left.

Beinn Eighe behind Stùc a’ Choire Dhuibh Bhig, Liathach’s eastern top.

A downclimb section shortly before we got to the Munro.

Soon after, we arrived on top of Spidean a’ Choire Lèith and got the first view of the Pinnacles and Mullach an Rathain, the second Munro.

Looking back along the ridge, Beinn Eighe on the left.

Beinn Alligin.

Beinn Dearg, Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eòin.

Although we were in a very exposed position on the summit, the wind had calmed down almost completely, and we decided to give the Pinnacles a go. But first we had to negotiate the steep descent from Spidean a’ Choire Lèith.

Approaching Am Fasarinen.

A glimpse of Beinn Dearg.

When we got to the start of the Pinnacles, the wind had picked up again and it was difficult to stand upright. We did try and climb the first one, but there is a very narrow section at the top, which would have been quite dangerous in strong winds. So we climbed down again and walked the bypass path instead.

The bypass is a narrow path on the south side, leading on a grassy shelf around the Pinnacles.

Dunja and Hannes on the path.

Glen Torridon.

Near the end of the bypass.

After the Pinnacles, the ridge becomes much broader and leads easily to the second Munro. But at this point the wind was at its strongest, and we were struggling to stay on our feet.

Looking north, Beinn a’ Chearcaill in the centre.

View back to Spidean a’ Choire Lèith and Am Fasarinen.

Liathach’s easy west ridge.

Beinn Alligin.

Beinn Dearg.

Loch Torridon.

The views from the summit had been really breathtaking and we could have easily spent an hour up there just enjoying the views. But in the wind it felt quite cold, and we also wanted to be off the hill in time for dinner at the Torridon Inn (after freshening up at the hostel).

So all that was left was the steep descent into Toll Ban…

Dunja and Hannes on what is probably the most unpleasant part of this walk.

As soon as we were out of the wind, it felt very warm again and once we were past the loose scree, the rest of the route was a pleasant stroll in the evening sun.

This was a very enjoyable day in great company and with stunning views, and we were all glad that we had changed our plan in the morning – thanks again, Mat 😉 Even without climbing the Pinnacles, Liathach is one of the most beautiful Munros, and I still remember how impressed I was after I climbed it the first time, also using the bypass path as I was quite new to hillwalking at the time.

We made it to the pub in time and enjoyed a very nice meal, and when we arrived back at the Youth Hostel late that evening, we were surprised how warm it was, it felt like mid-summer!

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11 thoughts on “Three days around Torridon

  1. The bypass path still looks ‘orrid to me! I have to do the ‘Top’ of Am Fasarinen (which I’m assuming is the very first pinnacle from the Mullach an Rathain side and am wondering about going up the Allt Toll Bain but can never seem to see any kind of path starting off up towards it – any clues you can give me for finding the start of the path from Torridon glen?
    Carol.

    • Hi Carol,

      The bypass path is not that bad, at least in dry conditions. I’d imagine the long slog up the scree below Mullach an Rathain to be worse…

      I only ever descended that way, so I never had to find the start of the path, but I would say it starts roughly opposite a small clearing under the trees by the road, just big enough to park two cars. Hope that helps!

      Or you could download the Viewranger app, get the Northern Highlands Landranger map and let it guide you to the start 😉

      • My phone doesn’t do ‘Apps’ – it’s about 12 years old! 😉

        I’ve had a good look around for the path at the bottom of the Allt Toll Bain but couldn’t see it – can you remember which side of the burn it was when it landed by the road?
        Carol.

      • Maybe it’s time to get a new phone 😉

        Can’t remember seeing a stream from there (according to the map the path is between two streams), but there is a large rock/crag that I always find awkward to downclimb, just before the path reaches the road.

        I found a photo of it on the Geograph website:
        http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1372154

      • Definitely don’t want a new phone – mine’s super-reliable – just basic – and that’s how I like it. I’ll have to have a go at getting to that photo later – work won’t let me here 😦

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